CHESTER — Luke Horner, 16, of Chester, is looking to go pro.
The motocross racer has been riding motorbikes since he was 10 years old in 2009, when he went to see his brother Arik’s best friend, Justin Hill, compete in a race.
After that, he was hooked.
“I was just wanted to try it,” he said.
After purchasing his first bike, he began to compete and then, eventually, began to win. Initially, Horner began in a lower C class of racing, with B as the middle class of racing and A as the highest class. Each competitor can rise in class by achieving points. When he was in the 85cc (cubic centimeter-sized bike) class ages 7-11, Horner won his first championships, then moved up to the super mini class in 2012.
He then won the super mini class in 2012 and went to the South of the Border Motocross Training Facility in Hamer, S.C., where he was told he would need a 125cc bike, as he was outgrowing the 85cc. Horner said that during his time with a 125cc, he was beating those with 450cc (full-sized) bikes in open races.
Horner then moved up to the 250cc, which is basically a full-sized motorbike. He won the 250cc at Fast Traxx in Nelsonville in the open C class. In 2013, Horner competed in Florida and ended up getting fourth in 450cc class. He bought a 450cc bike in early 2014. His most recent purchase was a Yamaha YZ 250; another 450cc bike.
Currently, Horner, who is home-schooled so that he can race, is listed as a pro-amateur, but is hoping to become a pro motocross rider beginning next month, when he’ll go to Gainesville, Fla., to compete in “The Mini Olympics,” which are not associated with the Olympics, but according to Mark Boyd, one of Horner’s supporters, “If there was an Olympics for amateur motocross racers, this would be it.”
Horner said he’s nervous because this race will be his first in A class. Riders move up classes based on their riding ability.
Before the race, Horner will again return to South Carolina to train at a facility. If Horner places appropriately in Florida, he will move onto the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Loretta Lynn National Motocross Championship in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. After the Lynn championship, Horner will have to compete in races sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association.
From there, if he qualifies he will become a professional. He can either become a privateer, one who races privately and pays for all their own expenses, or he can be picked for a team who will pay for all expenses.
To become a professional, Horner is looking for donations or sponsors to help him in his journey to becoming a professional. For more information on how to help Horner, call 740-416-0085.
“He’s committed,” Boyd said.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555.